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Osaka: June 9

Met up with W near Osaka castle park, and got up to the entrance of Osaka castle. Where there was a line, and W realized she didn't want to do that again, and I should go on my own on a weekday. So we walked around the park a lot.

Castle construction and moat reminded me a lot of the Tokyo one, unsurprisingly.

Had my first takoyaki. It was okay.

Part of travel is finding what another culture does better (trains, safety) or worse/alien (no soap in park public bathrooms, hardly any paper towels anywhere, few public trash cans apart from conbini or train stations, few drinking fountains (true of all non-US countries, in my experience), wall maps have random orientation.

She headed home, I figured I would finish riding the JR Loop to see more of the city by day -- it's an elevated train. I found myself on a train that would turn into a rapid train to Nara, an hour away. I mean to go, but figured 5pm wasn't the best time, so switched and ended up at Namba, another busy downtownish area. Including a little river, so that was nice to see and smell, and see tour boats on.

Went to Sushizanmai, a staple of my time in Tokyo in 2008, but it's more expensive either now or here.

Right in the middle of all this shopping is a little Buddhist temple, Hozeni I think, with what I would think is an attached Shinto shrine (row of orange torii, water ladle, wish placards.) Symbiosis at work: people were pumping water at the presumed shrine, to throw onto the moss-covered Buddhist statue.

We'd dropped by a shrine at the castle; W snarked that having someone sell you charms was a key part of a shrine or temple.

Hmm, wiki says many Japanese temples also have a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%C5%8Dzuya not just shrines, and no one mentions a shrine, so maybe that was a false positive.
https://www.osakastation.com/hozenji-temple-hozenji-yokocho/

Had a skewer (yakitori) of "chicken skin" from Family Mart. It did in fact seem like skin. There was "chicken tail", too.

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Damien Sullivan
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